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Researchers Copy a 3D Model By Recording Its Printer's Sounds

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Anyone looking to duplicate a 3D-printed model doesn't necessarily need computer hacking skills to do so. New research shows that the blueprint of a model can be copied simply by recording the sounds of the 3D printer as it produces it, Gizmodo reports.

Researchers at the University of California, Irvine's Advanced Integrated Cyber-Physical Systems Lab made this discovery by recording the noises made by a 3D printer as it printed out a key-shaped object. The sounds generated by the servos, pumps, and extruders were all unique enough to give away their positions as well as the amount of filament they were printing at a given time. When the team attempted to reproduce the key using their sound copying and processing method, they were able to do so with 90 percent accuracy. 

While there are ways of protecting 3D model codes electronically, preventing the printing process from being audio recorded is a different story. These same results could easily be replicated using a smartphone's voice recorder, something that many people have access to. And with 3D printing technology being used in everything from medicine to archaeology, the threat of intellectual piracy is a widespread concern. The research team recommends that manufacturers ban smartphones while prototypes are being printed, or use white noise machines to conceal the process. For a more in-depth explanation of how the researchers were able to print a model from auditory information alone, check out the video below.   

[h/t Gizmodo]

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How to Spot the Convincing New Phishing Scam Targeting Netflix Users
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Netflix may send customers the occasional email, but these messages will never ask you to provide them with personal or payment info. You'll want to keep this in mind if you encounter a new phishing scam that The Daily Dot reports is targeting the video streaming service's subscribers in Australia and the UK.

MailGuard, an Australian email security company, was the first to take notice of the fraudulent emails. While similar scams have targeted Netflix users in the past, this current iteration appears to be more convincing than most. At first (and perhaps even second) glance, the messages appear to be legitimate messages from Netflix, with an authentic-looking sender email and the company’s signature red-and-white branding. The fake emails don’t contain telltale signs of a phishing attempt like misspelled words, irregular spacing, or urgent phrasing.

The subject line of the email informs recipients that their credit card info has been declined, and the body requests that customers click on a link to update their card's expiration date and CVV. Clicking leads to a portal where, in addition to the aforementioned details, individuals are prompted to provide their email address and full credit card number. After submitting this valuable info, they’re redirected to Netflix’s homepage.

So far, it’s unclear whether this phishing scheme has widely affected Netflix customers in the U.S., but thousands of people in both Australia and the U.K. have reportedly fallen prey to the effort.

To stay safe from phishing scams—Netflix-related or otherwise—remember to never, ever click on an email link unless you’re 100 percent sure it’s valid. And if you do end up getting duped, use this checklist as a guide to safeguard your compromised data.

[h/t The Daily Dot]

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Weather Watch
Heated Mats Keep Steps Ice-Free in the Winter
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Amazon

The first snow of the season is always exciting, but the magic can quickly run out when you remember all the hazards that come with icy conditions. Along with heating bills, frosted cars, and other pains, the ground develops a coat of ice that can be dangerous for pedestrians and drivers alike. Outdoor steps become particularly treacherous and many people find themselves clutching their railings for fear of making it to the bottom headfirst. Instead of putting salt down the next time it snows, consider a less messy approach: heated mats that quickly melt the ice away.

The handy devices are made with a thermoplastic material and can melt two inches of snow per hour. They're designed to be left outside, so you can keep them ready to go for the whole winter. The 10-by-30-inch mats fit on most standard steps and come with grips to help prevent slipping. A waterproof connector cable connects to additional mats so up to 15 steps can be covered.

Unfortunately, this convenience comes at a price: You need to buy a 120-volt power unit for them to work, and each mat is sold separately. Running at $60 a mat, the price can add up pretty quickly. Still, if you live in a colder place where it's pretty much always snowing, it might be worth it.

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